ZHENGZHOU -- China is marking 60 years of efforts to harness the Yellow
River, the country's second longest waterway, with commemorative activities and
instructions from its top leaders.
The Chinese people have been successful over the past 60 years in harnessing
the Yellow River. But there is still a long way to go as it is such a crucial
part of China's modernization drive, said Chinese President Hu Jintao.
"We must maintain harmony between man and nature, enhance overall planning
and do a better job to ensure the Yellow River better serves the Chinese
nation," he said.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said the country should abide by the laws of
nature and economy in their efforts to harness the Yellow River, stress water
conservation and allocate water resources more rationally.
A grand gathering was held last Friday in Zhengzhou, capital of central
China's Henan Province, to mark the country's endeavors.
Addressing the gathering, Vice Premier Hui Liangyu encouraged further
exploration of new ways to harness the river.
"It is essential that we implement the strategies of the Central Committee of
the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council," he said. We must take
a scientific and more coordinated approach, and stress closer cooperation
between different departments in harnessing the Yellow River, he added.
The Yellow River, known as China's "sorrow" and the cradle of early Chinese
civilization, empties into the Bohai Sea in Shandong Province in east China,
running 5,464 kilometers from its source in the Qinghai-Tibet plateau. It
supplies water to more than 155 million people and 15 percent of China's
Overuse of its water resources in recent years has resulted in grave
environmental degradation. In a recent interview, Li Guoying, director of the
Yellow River Conservancy Committee, told Xinhua, "The overuse of water has led
to repeated cases of the river drying up, endangering the river's entire
In fact, 60 percent of the water is used for human and economic activity,
compared with an internationally recognized limit of 40 percent utilization of
river water, according to Li.
This has caused a huge drop in the river's water level over the last 40
years. According to An Xindai, director of the Water Flow Control Bureau with
the Yellow River Conservancy Committee, between 2,000 and 2002, the annual
average water flowing out of the mouth of the river was just 4.65 billion cubic
meters, down from 49.6 billion cubic meters in the 1960s.